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Canon 250, 251, 250XL, 251XL, 550, 551, 550XL, 551XL – Low Ink Warnings & Reset Procedure

Canon 250-251 and 255XXL Cartridge Set_sm

To use a refilled Canon 250, 251, 250XL, 251XL, 550, 551, 550XL or 551XL ink cartridge you will need to first reset the printer – see instructions below.

NOTE 1: “Low Ink” and other ink cartridge nuisance messages are COMPLETELY NORMAL for all Canon 250, 250XL, 251, 251XL, 550, 551, 550XL & 551XL  ink cartridges (tanks) which have been refilled and installed into the printer!  While at first this may be considered an unusual workflow, it does allow print operations to proceed. ‘Grayed-out’ ink tanks will be displayed on the LCD screen or Windows pop-up screens when ink levels are checked – this is NORMAL.




To activate refilled Canon ink cartridges (and resume printing), simply press the “Stop/Resume” button (down arrow/triangle-circle) on your printer, for 5-8 seconds, until the low ink indicator goes out, the power light stops blinking and the printer resumes printing.   ‘Red X‘ cartridge empty indications should then disappear from Windows prompts/messages.  Repeat procedure when each refilled cartridge is installed into printer. Refer to video below.


Canon 250-251-255_Cartridge Reset Workflow


For printers that feature a LCD/Touchscreen (i.e. Canon MG6320 printer, etc.), then select ‘Touchscreen Printer Reset Procedure’ button below to enable the refilled ink cartridges:


Additionally, your printer or computer may display ink alert messages, such as “remaining ink cannot be correctly detected” or “printing under the current condition may damage the printer”. Press “OK”, “Yes” or “Close” to dismiss alert prompts, or press “OK” on the printer, so that the printer resumes its normal operation. These types of annoyance messages will randomly appear and should be expected when using refilled ink cartridges. Refer to video below for more information.

NOTE 2: If the printer is allowing copies to be made, it should mean that the tanks are not at the “ink out” level that requires the clearing of the ink level indicator by holding down the Stop/Resume button.

NOTE 3: Received faxes which are stored to memory will not be printed – though you can manually print out any fax contained within memory. You can change this setting to forcibly print all incoming faxes.


Low Ink Alerts & Messages, Bypass Instructions


Canon 251BK/251XL BK/551BK/551XL BK (Photo Black) Refilling Tip: 

You will need to ensure the Canon 251BK / 251XL BK / 551BK / 551XL BK (photo black) ink cartridge is really empty before bringing in for refilling, otherwise the cartridge may be ‘rejected’ by your refiller. Photo Black is only used when printing photos so this color will typically last much longer than the other colors.  If the cartridge is not completely empty, an accidental overflow of the photo black ink cartridge may occur during refilling. Under the printer’s Maintenance menu, activate the internal self-test print (i.e. Nozzle Check) to verify which color, or colors, are missing.

Canon 250-250XL-Photo Black (BK)_empty check

You may activate the Nozzle Check from either the printer’s LCD maintenance menu or from the Windows printer driver menu (iP printer models):

Nozzle Check_Windows prompt_with circle


NOTE 4: Canon does not allow an automatic reset of the electronic chip on the cartridge after a refill, so the ink level indicator is sending a false message that the ink level is low. Your cartridge is not low on ink, and nothing is wrong with your printer or cartridges. The ink level indicator usually cannot be manually re-set, so the ink level indicator is often not usable. However, losing this feature is not necessarily significant, because the ink level indicator usually has substantial usable ink remaining when it shows “low on ink”. Ink level monitoring is primarily for planning purposes only – it is not required to support printing.


The Canon PRINTHEAD will eventually fail over time with usage and age (may or may not be replaceable – refer to User Manual)*




Canon 250/251 Compatible Printers (select your printer): 



*Typically the Canon PRINTHEAD (which is customer replaceable) should not reach it’s end-of-life until after a minimum of 10 or more complete sets of cartridge changes. While some printheads may last 15,000+ pages others may only last 3000 pages, actual results will vary. The printhead will eventually fail in time from an internal micro-electronics failure due to the following leading factors: general customer print usage and printer care, printer duty cycle (i.e. # pages printed per month), printing frequency (i.e. time between each print job), print mode (i.e. draft vs. normal) and content printed (i.e. photos vs plain pages) and color mode (black and white only vs. color/greyscale printing). Paper types used (i.e. plain paper, photo papers & matte/heavy bond papers) and paper edge curl (due to age in printer or low relative humidity) can also quickly lead to premature printhead failures due to physical ‘head strikes’ of the paper edges making repeated contact with the printhead nozzle plate.



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